How to Properly Store Your Gas Grill for the Winter

Gemma Johnstone
Written by Gemma Johnstone
Updated January 31, 2022
Gas grill in the backyard covered with snow
Photo: arinahabich / Adobe Stock

Guard your grill against glacial conditions during its winter recess

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Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a region with year-round sun, as the colder weather sets in, those backyard cookouts become less appealing. Leaving your gas grill outside exposed to the elements during its downtime isn’t the best for its longevity. 

Unlike charcoal grills, gas varieties have a complex construction. They’re prone to rust, and blockages or damage to the piping connecting them to their propane tanks can occur when left unused for too long. 

So, unless you’re a bbq fanatic who plans to continue BBQing when the big freeze arrives, prepping and overwintering your gas grill in an appropriate sheltered spot makes sense. This means, come spring, it’ll be cooking up a storm again with no hassle. 

Follow these simple steps to learn all about winter storage for gas grills.

Difficulty:  1/5—You’ve got this.

Time to complete: 2 hours

What You’ll Need:

  • Dish soap or other mild detergent

  • Microfiber cloth or sponge

  • Long-handle, stiff-bristle, non-wire grill brush

  • Aluminum foil

  • Toothpicks or pipe cleaners

  • Non-metal bottle brush

  • Cooking Oil

  • Grill cover

1. Fire Up the Grill First

Man holding wire brush is cleaning barbecue grill
Photo: Sabine Kriesch / EyeEm / Getty Images

Winter storage for your gas grill includes ensuring it’s nice and clean before putting it away. And gas grills are notoriously greasy contraptions. Leaving stuck-on food and grease is unhygienic and attracts vermin to the place you’re storing it. The last thing you want is mice setting up home in your grill base!

Run the grill on high for around 15 minutes. Burning any leftover food and grease on the grates makes it easier to scrape off once it cools down.

2. Clean the Grill

Make sure it’s fully cool again, and then clean your gas grill using your brush to scrub off any food remnants. Clean the grates and the inside and outside of the main grill with grease-cutting dish soap mixed with warm (not cold) water and a microfiber cloth or sponge. 

Soaking any removable parts like drip pans, grease trays, or flame shields in warm, soapy water makes removing any residue easier. Don’t forget hard to reach areas like the underside of the hood, which can have a large build-up of carbon, and around the burners.

Always check the manufacturer’s manual for any cleaning instructions. For example, you should never leave porcelain-coated cast-iron grates to soak in water for any length of time, as it can damage the coating.

Tip: Avoid using a wire grill brush. The bristles can come off, and if they end up in your food, it’s dangerous. Better alternatives are a non-wire brush with a scraper or scrub pad attached or a grill stone. If you have nothing else to hand, use crumpled up aluminum foil as a scraper.

3. Perform Any Maintenance Jobs

Man scrubbing grill with soap and sponge
Photo: Sergei Telenkov / iStock / Getty Images Plus

As you’re storing your gas grill away for the winter, it’s also a good time to inspect your grill for any signs of wear and tear or faulty parts. Sand down chipped paint and apply a fresh coat of heat-resistant paint to the area to prevent rust from forming. 

If you discover serious damage to any parts, you may need to call a local grill repair professional. By calling them out during their quiet season, they shouldn't be as in demand as if you do it right before your big summer grill-out, and it could cost you less.

4. Use Cooking Oil to Keep Out Moisture

Your next step to get your grill ready for winter storage is to consider coating the burners and other metal parts with a thin layer of cooking oil before storing. This helps lock out moisture and prevents a build-up of rust or mildew. Select a high heat cooking oil such as peanut or canola oil rather than the more common olive oil.

5. Disconnect the Propane Tank

A key part of gas grill safety is that your propane tank must remain outdoors in a well-ventilated area away from anything flammable—they can handle temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit. 

So, before you store your grill, you’ll need to disconnect it from the gas supply. Always check the instruction manual for any specific instructions regarding safe tank disconnection and removal.

Make sure you properly switch off the gas supply before disconnecting. Use the bottle brush or toothpicks to clean the inside of the burner unit tubes as these sometimes clog with grease, webs, or insects. You might even want to tape a bag over the burner pipe entry point to prevent anything crawling in over the winter.

6. Use a Grill Cover

Gas grill with protective cover on
Photo: GrB / Adobe Stock

Even if you're bringing your grill indoors for storage, using a well-fitting waterproof cover has its advantages. It protects the grill from moisture, debris, and nesting vermin, and problems like rust or mold and mildew are less likely.

If storing your grill outside rather than in a garage, shed, storage unit, or basement is your only option, then a high-quality, secure, and well-fitting cover is essential. If it doesn’t fit properly or leaks, moisture is more likely to get in.

Make sure your grill is completely dry before putting the cover on to avoid trapping any moisture in.

7. Select a Climate-Controlled Environment for Storage

The best option for your gas grill in the winter is a climate-controlled storage unit or a spot in your heated basement or garage. Even a shed or unheated garage can experience extreme fluctuations in temperature and humidity that can cause unwanted moisture to build up under the cover of your grill.

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